Слике страница
PDF
ePub

Ano jest ez they wuz settin' down
To take their noonin, Joe looked roun'
And see (across lots in a pond
That waru't mor'n twenty rod beyond),
A goose that on the water sot
Ez ef awaitin' to be shot.

Isrel he ups and grabs his gun;
Sez he, "By ginger, here's some fun !"
“Don't fire," sez Joe, “it aint no use,
Thet 's Deacon Peleg's tame wild-goose";
Sez Isrel, “ I don't care a cent,
I've sighted an' I 'll let her went";
Bang! went queen's-arın, ole gander flopped
His wings a spell, an' quorked, an' dropped.
Sez Joe, I would n't ha' been hired
At that poor critter to ha' fired,
But, sence it's clean gin up the ghost,
We'll hev the tallest kind o' roast;
I guess our waistbands 'll be tight
'Fore it comes ten o'clock ternight."
"I won't agree to no such bender,"
Sez Isrel, keep it tell it 's tender;,
'Taint wuth a snap afore it's ripe.'
Sez Joe, “I'd jest ez lives eat tripe;
You air a buster ter suppose
I'd eat what makes me hol' my nose!"
So they disputed to an' fro
Till cunnin' Isrel sez to Joe,
"Don't le's stay here an play the fool,
Le's wait till both on us git cool,
Jest for a day or two le's hide it
An' then toss up an' so decide it."
"Agreed!" sez Joe, an' so they did,
An' the ole goose wuz safely híd.
Now 't wuz the hottest kind o' weather,
An when at last they come together,
It did n't signify which won,
Fer all the mischief hed ben done:
The goose wuz there, but, fer his soul,
Joe would n't ha' tetched it with a pole;
But I srel kind o liked the smell on't
An' ma le his dinner very well on't.

Were different as rats from rabbits;
Stout Fariner North, with frugal care,
Laid up provision for his heir,
Not scorning with hardi sun-browned hands
To scrape acquaintance with his lands;
Whatever thing he had to do
He did, and made it pay him, too ;
He sold his waste stone by the pound,
Hi, drains made water-wheels spin round,
His ice in summer-time he sold,
His wood brought profit when it was cold,
He dug and delved from morn till night,
Strove to make profit square with right,
Lived on his means, cut no great dash,
And paid his debts in honest cash.
On tother hand, his brother South
Lived very much from hand to mouth,
Played gentleman, nursed dainty hands,
Borrowed North's money on his lands,
And culled his morals and his graces
From cock-pits, bar-rooms, tights, and races;
His sole work in the farming line
Was keeping droves of long-legged swine,
Which brought great bothers and expenses
To North in looking after fences,
And, when they happened to break through,
Cost him both time and temper too,
For South insisted it was plain
He ought to drive them home again,
And North consented to the work
Because he loved to buy cheap pork.

Meanwhile, South's swine increasing fast,
His farm became too small at last,
So, having thought the inatter over,
And feeling bound to live in clover
And never pay the clover's worth,
He said one day to Brother North :-
Our families are both increasing,
And, though we labor without ceasing,
Our produce soon will be too scant
To keep our children out of want ;
They who wish fortune to be lasting
Must be both prudent and forecasting;
We soon shall need more land ; a lot
I know, that cheaply can be bot ;
You lend the cash, I 'll buy the acres,
And we 'll be equally partakers."

My own humble attempt was in manner and form following, and I print it here, I sincerely trust, out of no vainglory, but solely with the hope of doing good.

LEAVING THE MATTER OPEN.

A TALE.

Poor North, whose Anglo-Saxon blood
Gave him a hankering after inud,
Wavered a inoment, then consented,
And, when the cash was paid, repented;
To make the new land worth a pin,
Thought he, it must be all fenced in,
For, if South 's swine once get the run on't
No kind of farining can be done on't;
If that don't suit the other side,
'T is best we instantly divide.
But somehow South could ne'er incline
This way or that to run the line,
And always found some new pretence
'Gainst setting the division fence ;
At last he said :-

BY HOMER WILBUR, A. M.

Two brothers once, an ill-matched pair,
Together dwelt (no matter where),
To whom an Uncle Sam, or some one,
Il111: ta house and farm in corninon.
The two in principles and habits

"For peace's sake, Liberal concessions I will make; Though I believe, upon my soul, I've a just title to the whole, I'll make an offer which I call Gen'rous, - we'll have no fence at all; Then both of us, whene'er we choose, Can take what part we want to use; If you should chance to need it first, Pick you the best, I'll take the worst."

Containing heaps of native rhino;
You cant expect me to resign
My right

“But where,' quoth North, "are mine!" “Your rights," says tother, "well, that's

funny, I bought the land"

Agreed !" cried North; thought he, This

fall With wheat and rye I 'll sow it all; In that way I shall get the start, And South may whistle for his part. So thought, so done, the field was sown, And, winter having come and gone, Sly North walked blithely forth to spy, The progress of his wheat and rye; Heavens, what a sight! his brother's swine Had asked themselves all out to dine, Such grunting, munching, rooting, shoving, The soil seemed all alive and moving, As for his grain, such work they d made

on't, He could n't spy a single blade on't.

I paid the money"; “ That," answered South, "is from the point, The ownership, you'll grant, is joint; I'm sure iny only hope and trust is Not law so much as abstract justice, Though, you remember, 't was agreed That so and so - consult the deed ; Objections now are out of date, They might have answered once, but Fate Quashes them at the point we've got to; Obsta principiis, that's my mottu.' So saying, South began to whistle And looked as obstinate as gristle, While North went homeward, each brown

paw

Clenched like a knot of natural law,
And all the while, in either ear,
Heard something clicking wondrous clear.

"

Off in a rage he rushed to South, “My wheat and rye

-grief choked his mouth; Pray don't mind me,” said South, “but

plant All of the new land that you want "; “Yes, but your hogs," cried North;

“ The grain Won't hurt them," answered South again ; "But they destroy my grain";

“No doubt ; 'Tis fortunate you 've found it out; Misfortunes teach, and only they, You inust not sow it in their way"; “Nay, you," says North, “must keep them

out";
"Did I create them with a snout?"
Asked South demurely; "as agreed,
The land is open to your seed,
And would you fain prevent my pigs
From running there their harmless rigs?
God knows I view this compromise
With not the most approving, eyes;
I gave up my unquestioned rights
For sake of quiet days and nights;
I offered then, you know it is true,
To cut the piece of land in two."
Then cut it now," growls North;

“Abate
Your heat," says South, "'t is now too late;
I offered you the rocky corner,
But you, of your own good the scorner,
Refused to take it ; I am sorry;
No doubt you might have found a quarry,
Perhaps a gold-inine, for aught I know,

To turn now to other matters, there are two things upon which it would seem fitting to dilate somewhat more largely in this place, — the Yankee character and the Yankee dialect, And, first, of the Yankee character, which has wanted neiher open maligne ers, nor even more dangerous enemies in the persons of those unskilful painters who have given to it that hardness, angularity, and want of proper perspective, which, in truth, belonged, not to their subject, but to their own niggard and unskilful pencil.

New England was not so much the colony of a mother country, as a Hagar driven forth into the wilderness. The little self-exiled band which

came hither in 1620 came, not to seek gold, but to found a democracy. Thev came that they might have the privilege to work and pray, to sit upon hard benches and listen to painful preachers as long as they would, yea, even unto thirtyseventhly, if the spirit so willed it. And surely, if the Greek might boast his Thermopylæ, where three hundred men fell in resisting the Persian, we may well be proud of our Plymouth Rock, where a handful of men, wonen and children not merely faced, but vaa

far away

quished, winter, famine, the wilderness, and the yet more invincible storge that drew them back to the green island

These found no lotus growing upon the surly shore, the taste of which could make them forget their little native Ithaca ; nor were they so wanting to themselves in faith as to burn their ship, but could see the fair west wind belly the homeward sail, and then turn unrepining to grapple with the terrible Unknown.

As Want was the prime foe these hardy exodists had to fortress themselves against, so it is little wonder if that traditional feud is long in wearing out of the stock. The wounds of the old warfare were long a-healing, and an erst wind of hard times puts a new ache in every one of them. Thrift was the first lesson in their hornbook, pointed out, letter after letter, by the lean finger of the hard schoolmaster, Necessity: Neither were those plump, rosy-gilled Englishmen that came hither, but a hard-faced, atrabilious, earnest-eyed race, stiff from long wrestling with the Lord in prayer, and who had taught Satan to dread the new Puritan bug. Add two hundred years' influence of soil, climate, and exposure, wiih its necessary result of idiosyncrasies, and we have the present Yankee, ful. of expedients, half-master of all trades, inventive in all but the beautiful, full of shifts, not yet capable of comfort, armed at all points against the old enemy Hunger, longanimous, good at patching, not so careful for what is best as for what will do, with a clasp to his purse and a button to his pocket, not skilled to build against Time, as in old countries, but against sore-pressing Need, accustomed to move the world with no OÙ OTû but his own two feet, and no lever but his own long forecast. A strange hybrid, indeed, did circumstance beget, here in the New World, upon the old Puritan stock, and the earth never before saw such mysticpracticalism, such niggard-geniality, such calculating-fanaticism, such castiron-enthusiasm, such sour-faced-humor, such close-fisted-generosity. This

new Græculus esuriens will make a living out of anything. He will invent new trades as well as tools. His brain is his capital, and he will get education at all risks. Put him on Juan Fernandez, and he would make a spellingbook first, and a salt-pan afterward. In cælum, jusseris, ibit, - or the other way either, - it is all one, so anything is to be got by it. Yet, after all, thin, speculative Jonathan is more like the Englishman of two centuries ago than John Bull himself is. He has lost somewhat in solidity, has become fluent and adaptable, but more of the original groundwork of character remains. He feels more at home with Fulke Greville, Herbert of Cherbury, Quarles, George Herbert, and Browne, than with his modern English cousins. He is nearer than John, by at least a hundred years, to Naseby, Marston Moor, Worcester, and the time when, if ever, there were true Englishmen. John Bull has suffered the idea of the Invisible to be very much fattened out of him. Jonathan is conscious still that he lives in the world of the Unseen as well as of the Seen. To move John you must make your fulcrum of solid beef and pudding; an abstract idea will do for Jonathan.

TO THE INDULGENT

READER.

My friend, the Rev. Mr. Wilbur, having been seized with a dangerous fit of illness, before this Introduction had passed through the press, and being incapacitatel for all literary exertion, sent to me his notes, memorancia, &c., and requestel me to fashion them into some sha;c more fituing for the general eye. This, owing to the fragmentary and disjointed state of his manuscripts, I have felt wholly unable to do; yet, being un. willing that the reader should be deprived of such parts of his lucubrations as seemed more finislied, and not well discerning how to segregate these from the rest. I have con cluded to send them all to the press precisely as they are.

COLUMBUS NYE,
Pastor of a Church in Bungtown

Corner.

that the reader will not find one which is not (as I believe) either native or imported with the early settlers, nor one which I have not, with my own ears, heard in familiar use. In the metrical portion of the book, I have endeavored to adapt the spelling as nearly as pos. sible to the ordinary mode of pronunciation Let the reader who deems me over-particular remember this caution of Martial :

Quem recitas, meus est, O Fidentine, libel

lus; Sed male cum recitas, incipit esse tuus."

It remains to speak of the Yankee dialect. And, first, it may be premised, in a general way, that any one much read in the writings of the early colonists need not be told that the far greater share of the words and phrases now esteemed peculiar to New England, and local there, were brought from the mother country. A person familiar with the dialect of certain portions of Massachusetts will not fail to recognize, in ordinary discourse, many words now noted in English vocabularies as archaic, the greater part of which were in common use about the time of the King James translation of the Bible. Shakespeare stands less in need of a glossary to most New Englanders than to many a native of the Old Country. The peculiarities of our speech, however, are rapidly wearing out. As there is no country where reading is so universal and newspapers are so multitudinous, so no phrase remains long local, but is transplanted in the mail-bags to every remotest corner of the land. Consequently our dialect approaches nearer to uniformity than that of any other nation.

The English have complained of us for coining new words. Many of those so stigmatized were old ones by them forgotten, and all make now an unquestioned part of the currency, wherever English is spoken. Undoubtedly, we have a right to make new words, as they are needed by the fresh aspects under which life presents itself here in the New World ; and, indeed, wherever a language is alive, it grows. It inight be questioned whether we could not establish a stronger title to the ownership of the English tongue than the mother-islanders themselves. Here, past all question, is to be its great home and centre. And not only is it already spoken here by greater numbers, but with a far higher popular average of correctness than in Britain. The great writers of it, too, we might claim as ours, were ownership to be settled by the number of readers and lovers.

As regards the provincialisms to be met with in this volume, I may say

A few further explanatory remarks will not be impertinent.

I shall barely lay down a few general rules for the reader's guidance.

1. The genuine Yankee never gives the rough sound to the r when he can help it, and often displays considerable ingenuity in avoiding it even before a vowel.

2. He seldom sounds the final g, a piece of self-denial, if we consider his partiality for nasals. The same of the final d, as han' and stan' for hand aud stand.

3. The h in such words as while, when, where, he omits altogether.

4. In regard to a, he shows some inconsistency, sometimes giving a close and obscure sound, as hev for have, hendy for handy, ez for as, thet for that, and again giving it the broad sound it has in father, as hânsome for handsome.

5. To the sound ou he prefixes an e (hard to exemplify otherwise than oral

The following passage in Shakespeare he would recite thus:

îy).

"Neow is the winta uv eour discontent Med glorious summa by this sun o' Yock, An' all the cleouds thet leowered upun com Grim-visaged war heth smeuthed his wrinkled

heouse In the deep buzzum o'the oshin buried : Neow air eour breows beound 'ith victorious

wreaths; Eour breused arms hung up fer monimnunce; Eour starn alarums ch nged to merry meet

ins, Eour dreflle marches to delighfle masures

front, An' neow, instid o'mountin' barebid steeds To fright the souls o' ferfle edverseries, He capers nimly in a lady's chamber, To the lascivious pleasin' uv a loot."

6. Au, in such words as daughter and slaughter, he pronounces ah.

7. To the dish thus seasoned add a drawl ad libitum.

our

(Mr. Wilbur's notes here become entirely fragmentary.-C. N.)

a. Unable to procure a likeness of Mr. Biglow, I thought the curious reader might be gratified with a sight of the editorial effigies. And here a choice between two was offered, - the one a profile (entirely black) cut by Doyle, the other a portrait painted by a native artist of much promise. The first of these seenied wanting in expression, and in the second a slight obliquity of the visual organs has been heightened (perhaps from an over-desire of force on the part of the artist) into too close an approach to actual strabismus. This slight divergence in my optical apparatus from the ordinary model - however I may have been taught to regard it in the light of a mercy rather than a cross, since it enabled me to give as much of directness and personal application to my discourses as met the wants of my congregation, without risk of offending any by being supposed to have him or her in my eye (as the saying is). seemed yet to Mrs. Wilbur a sufficient objection to the engraving of the aforesaid painting. We read of many who either absolutely refused to allow the copying of their features, as especially did Plotinus and Agesilaus among the ancients, not to mention the more modern instances of Scioppius, Palæottus, Pinellus, Velserus, Gataker, and others, or were indifferent thereto, as Cromwell.

their portraits than characters. Shall probabiy tind very unflattered likenesses of ourselves in Recording Angel's gallery.

y. Whether any of our national peculiarities may be traced to use of stoves, as a certain closeness of the lips in pronunciation, and a smothered smoulderingness of disposition seldom roused to open flame? An unrestrained intercourse with fire probably conducive to generosity, and hospitality of soul. Ancient Mexicans used stoves, as the friar Augustin Ruiz reports, Hakluyt, III., 468, - but Popish priests not always reliable authority.

To-day picked my Isabella grapes. Crop injured by attacks of rose-bug in the spring

Whether Noah was justifiable in preserving this class of insects ?

8. Concerning Mr. Biglow's pedigree. Tolerably certain that there was never a poet among his ancestors. An ordination hymn attributed to a maternal uncle, but perhaps a sort of production not demanding the creative faculty.

His grandfather a painter of ihe gran diose or Michael Angelo school. Seldom painted objects smaller than houses or barns, and these with uncommon expression.

€. Of the Wilburs no complete pedi gree. The crest said to be a wild boar, whence, perhaps, the name.(?). A connection with the Earls of Wilbraham (quasi wild boar ham) might be made out. This suggestion worth following up. In 1677, John W.m. Expect had issue, 1. John, 2. Haggai, 3. Expect, 4. Ruhamah, 5. Desire. Hear lyes ye bodye of Mrs Expect Wilber,

ye crewell salvages they kil'd her
Together wth other Christian soles eleaven,
October ye ix daye, 1707.
Ye stream of Jordan sh' as crost ore
And now expeacts me on ye other shore :
I live in hope her soon to join ;
Her earthlye yeeres were forty and pine."
From Gravestone in Pekusseth, North

Parish.

B. Yet was Cæsar desirous of concealing his baldness. Per contra, my Lord Protector's carefulness in the matter of his wart might be cited.

Men generally more desirous of being improved in

« ПретходнаНастави »